Baseball Holds Off NJCU

Little Falls, NJ (4/24/08) – Junior Stephen Piscitello (Hauppague, NY / Hauppague) went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs, then came on in the ninth to record the final two outs for his third save of the year as Montclair State survived a rally from New Jersey City over the final four innings for an 11-10 victory in a New Jersey Athletic Conference matchup at Yogi Berra Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Ed Kloepping ( Pennsville , NJ / Pennsville) and Lou Politan ( Livingston, NJ / Livingston) each had two RBI as the Red Hawks remained tied for first place in the NJAC with the victory. MSU improved to 21-13 overall and 12-4 in the NJAC as they kept pace with The College of New Jersey and Kean.

Josue Martinez (Bronx, NY / Walton) belted a two-run homer and finished with three RBI for NJCU, which dropped its second straight one-run decision and its seventh one-run loss this year. The Gothic Knights are now 10-26 overall, 2-14 in the league.

Meeting for the second time in eight days, this contest did not provide as much offense as the first (a 26-16 win by MSU), however it did provide some drama over the latter innings. New Jersey City trailed 6-1 heading into the sixth inning, but scored four times to cut the deficit to a run and then added three more in the seventh to take an 8-6 lead.

Jose Fulgencio (Bronx, NY / San Rafael (Dominican Republic) had an RBI double and Kristopher Brus (Parlin, NJ / Sayreville War Memorial) singled home a run in the sixth before Martinez launched a two-run homer to left for his first of the year. Fulgencio tied the game the next inning with a single and Mark Hoyer (Irvine, CA / Woodbridge (CA)) lofted a sacrifice fly to give the Gothic Knights the lead before Brus’ infield single added another run as NJCU went up by two.

Montclair State would quickly counter with five runs in the bottom of the seventh. Piscitello singled home a run to make the score 8-7 and Andrew Himmelfarb ( Nyack, NY/Nyack) walked with the bases loaded to tie the game. Kevin Cuozzi’s ( Langhorne, PA / Neshaminy) RBI ground out gave Montclair the lead and Politan capped the inning with a two-run double as the Red Hawks moved back in front, 11-8.

New Jersey City kept the pressure on slicing the deficit to a run in the eighth as Andrew Decibus ( Carteret, NJ / Carteret) plated a run with a two-out infield single as the Gothic Knights trailed, 11-9. In the ninth, Hoyer legged out a double with one out and went to third on a single by Brus. Piscitello came on and got Martinez to bounce into a fielder’s choice that scored Hoyer to get NJCU within 11-10. But Piscitello fanned the next hitter to nail down his third save as MSU completed the season-sweep with their fourth consecutive one-run victory.

Senior righthander Marty Cabalar (Parsippany, NJ / Parsippany Hills) picked up the win in relief as he recorded the final two outs in the seventh and was the beneficiary of the five-run outburst by the Red Hawks. Cabalar improved to 3-1 while Joseph Olmo ( Bayonne, NJ / Bayonne) took the loss to fall to 1-3.

Jeff Miller ( Wyckoff, NJ / Ramapo) and Michael Nunes ( Hazlet, NJ / Raritan) each had three hits for Montclair State, which was outhit in the contest, 15-12.

Decibus was 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI while Brus finished 3-for-5 at the plate. Fulgenico also collected two hits and Rob Sumner ( Union, NJ / Union) was 1-for-4 with a pair of runs scored as he played in his 134 th career game, tying the all-time program record for set by Nick Cucinello (1990-93). In addition, junior righthander Steve Hallam ( Harrison, NJ / Harrison) pitched the ninth inning in his 19 th appearance of the year for the Gothic Knights, breaking the NJCU single-season record for appearances set by Jack Nagurka in 1985.

Both teams return to action tomorrow in their final NJAC regular-season contests of the year. Montclair State will host Rowan University in a Noon doubleheader at Yogi Berra Stadium while the Gothic Knights return home to the Gerrity Complex to face Rutgers-Camden in a twinbill at the same time.